Idaho Gov. Brad Little (R) signed a pro-life bill on Wednesday, but expressed reservations about some provisions.
The proposal, which passed the Idaho House of Representatives 51-14 previously this month, is modeled after a recently approved Texas law.
The Texas law also permits family members to sue abortion providers after six weeks.
🚨BREAKING: Idaho Governor just SIGNED #SB1309 banning abortion! This is the most complete ban on abortion in the country! HUGE WIN!
— Tim Swain (@SwainForSenate) March 23, 2022
Senate Bill 1309, dubbed the “Fetal Heartbeat, Preborn Child Protection Act,” is comparable to the Texas law in that it prohibits abortion after the detection of a fetal heartbeat.
Provisions of the Bill
The bill offers provisions for abortions in the event of a medical emergency, incest, or rape. Texas law makes no such exceptions.
The Texas statute permits private citizens to sue anybody who performs abortions or assists or abets an abortion in breach of the law.
However, Idaho law restricts who can sue to family members. The unborn child’s mom, father, grandparent, sibling, uncle, or aunt may sue for a minimum of $20,000.
Additionally, it provides for lawsuits against “medical practitioners who knowingly or carelessly attempted, conducted, or induced abortion” in violation of the statute.
It precludes fathers from suing if the pregnancy is the consequence of rape or incest.
Governor Little signed the law, but expressed reservations.
BREAKING: The Idaho Governor just signed a ban on abortion a 6 weeks of pregnancy, making this the first state to enact a Texas-style “sue thy neighbor” copycat ban. Here’s why this is deeply worrying.
— Elizabeth Nash (@ElizNash) March 23, 2022
“While I endorse the legislation’s pro-life stance, I am concerned the unique civil enforcement tool will quickly be found to be unlawful and ineffective,” Little stated.
“None of the rights we cherish are inviolable. How long until California, New York, and other states opposed to the First and Second Amendments employ the same tactic to attack our religious liberty and right to bear arms,” he said.
Vulnerable Women and Children
“I am especially worried about vulnerable women and kids who lack the capacity or personal support necessary to report incest and sexual abuse,” the Idaho Republican governor stated.
“Ultimately, this measure runs the risk of re-traumatizing victims by providing financial incentives to wrongdoers and rapists’ family members.”
“I remain dedicated to safeguarding pre-born babies’ lives. Likewise, I strongly recommend the legislature to immediately address any unintended repercussions of this act to guarantee the state adequately supports the interests of sexual assault victims,” he said.
The law is set to take effect 30 days after it is signed by the governor. Additionally, the Texas law served as a model for subsequent pro-life legislation across the country.
Oklahoma’s House of Representatives passed a bill Tuesday that would prohibit doctors in the state from providing abortions unless the mother’s life is in danger.
Additionally, private citizens may sue doctors and others in the state who violate the law for up to $10,000. Tennessee just enacted a similar statute.
Time will determine whether or not Idaho’s new law gets pushback or is modeled differently by other states.